Despite doing very well in grad school working towards a career as a History professor, and despite leaving college with honors and falling into a decidedly “middle class” income level, I feel like a failure.
This has been building lately as all of my friends who took real jobs get raises and make even more money. All of these things they have earned through their own hard work, trials, and tribulations. They should be proud. And I should be happy for them. Instead I think of what I could be doing, and I can’t be happy for them, because I feel like I’m standing still.
Yes, six to seven years from now I will probably [hopefully] do a sudden leapfrog and reach or exceed them in income level. And yes, this is exactly the sort of thing that my advisers have warned me would happen as I continued down my academic path. But when I have to pause to justify spending $8 on equipment for a sport I’ve been doing every weekend for a month, when I can’t afford to take my girlfriend on a trip with just the two of us, I can’t help but feel that I’m selling myself short, even though rationally I know that I’m not.